A controversial decision to strip a $10 million contract from a Detroit firm and give it to a team that included ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s pal Bobby Ferguson saved the city money, a water department official testified.
Water department Deputy Director Darryl Latimer said he was troubled by the move, but conceded it saved the city money.
Latimer testified about a $10 million deal taken away from Lakeshore Engineering Services in 2003. Lakeshore executives believe the contract was taken away after they refused to share the deal with Ferguson.
The move was a seminal moment for Lakeshore executives. They later concluded they needed to hire Ferguson and pay him millions for no-show work in order to keep and secure city deals.
Under cross examination from Kilpatrick lawyer James C. Thomas, Latimer said water boss Victor Mercado decided to strip the contract from Lakeshore.
“You had no argument with his power to do that, right?” Thomas asked.
“Not at all,” Latimer said.
He felt the move was unfair because Lakeshore had submitted a bid and was in the early stages of having the contract awarded by the department.
The $10 million project to replace sewers was folded into an existing contract with the firm Inland Waters.
Inland was headed by Grosse Pointe Farms businessman Tony Soave, a powerful businessman who says he was extorted into providing free private flights and other perks to Kilpatrick, mistress Christine Beatty and others.
Inland’s partner on the deal? Ferguson.
Inland agreed to slash its prices, Latimer testified.